5 Myths and 5 Realities of BIM Integration - GIS

Chris Andrews has written a valuable article at a time of interesting juncture, when ESRI and AutoDesk seek ways to bring the simplicity of the GIS to the fabric of design that strives to materialize the BIM as standard in the processes of engineering, architecture and construction. Although the article takes the optic of these two companies, it is an interesting point of view, although it does not necessarily coincide with the strategies of other speakers on the market such as Tekla (Trimble), Geomedia (Hexagon), Imodel.js (Bentley). We know that some of the positions before the BIM were "a CAD that does GIS" or "a GIS that adapts to the CAD".

A little history…

In the decade of 80 and 90, CAD and GIS technologies emerged as competitive alternatives for professionals who needed to work with spatial information, which was processed mainly through paper. In that era, software sophistication and hardware capacity limited the scope of what could be done with computer-assisted technology, both for writing and for map analysis. CAD and GIS, seemed to be superimposed versions of computerized tools, to work with geometries and data, which would produce documentation on paper.

As software and hardware have become more advanced and sophisticated, we have witnessed the specialization of all the technologies that surround us, including CAD and GIS, and the road to fully digital workflows (also called "digitized"). CAD technology, initially focused on the automation of tasks from manual drawing. Building information modeling (BIM), a process to achieve better efficiency, during design and construction, has gradually pushed BIM and CAD design tools from the creation of drawings and into intelligent digital models of real-world assets . The models created in modern BIM design processes are sophisticated enough to simulate construction, find flaws in the early stages of design and generate high precision estimates for budget compliance in projects that change dynamically, for example.

GIS has also differentiated and deepened its capabilities over time. Now, GIS can handle billions of events, from live sensors, make visualizations from petabytes of 3D models, and images to a browser or mobile phone, and perform predictive, complex, and scaled analyzes on multiple processing nodes scattered throughout the cloud. The map, which began as an analytical tool on paper, has been transformed into a dashboard or communication portal to synthesize complex analyzes in a human-interpretable way.

To take advantage of the full potential of the integrated workflows between BIM and GIS, critical for domains such as Smart Cities and Digitized Engineering, we must examine how these two worlds can go beyond industry competition and move towards workflows complete digitized, which will allow us to disconnect from the paper processes of the last hundred years.

Myth: BIM is for ...

In the GIS community, one of the most common things I see and hear are BIM definitions based on the external understanding of the BIM world. I often hear that BIM is for administration, visualization, 3D modeling or that it is only for buildings, for example. Unfortunately, none of these is really what BIM is used for, although it may extend or enable some of these capabilities or functions.

Essentially, BIM is a process to save time and money, and achieve high confidence results during the design and construction process. The 3D model generated during the BIM design process is a by-product of the need to coordinate a particular design, capture a structure as it is, to evaluate demolition costs, or provide a legal or contractual record of changes in a physical asset . Visualization can be part of the process, because it helps humans understand the dynamics, characteristics and aesthetics of a proposed design.

As I learned a long time ago in Autodesk, the 'B' in BIM means 'Build, the verb' not 'Building, the noun'. Autodesk, Bentley and other suppliers have worked with the industry to infuse the concepts of the BIM process into domains such as railways, roads and highways, public services and telecommunications. Any agency or organization that manages and builds fixed physical assets has a personal interest in making sure that its design and engineering contractors use the BIM processes.

BIM data can potentially be used in operational workflows for asset management. This has been fixed, for example, in the new ISO standards for BIM, who have been informed, by the process of standardization of standards of the United Kingdom, established in the last 10 years. Although these new proposals focus on the use of BIM data, in the full life cycle of an asset, it is still clear that savings in construction costs, as indicated in the article, are the main impetus for the adoption of BIM.

When viewed as a process, the integration of GIS technology with BIM becomes much more complex than just reading graphics and attributes from an 3D model and displaying them in GIS. To really understand how information can be used in BIM and GIS, we often find that we have to redefine our building or road concept, and understand how customers need to use a wide range of project data in the geospatial context. We also found that focusing on the model sometimes means that we have overlooked the simplest, most basic workflows that are essential to the entire process, such as the use of data collected in the field accurately on a construction site, to Link the location with the model data for inspection, inventory and survey.

Ultimately, we will only achieve common understanding and results, if we "cross the gap" to work in combined teams that can bring diversity to problem solving. That is why we are working with Autodesk and other partners in this space.
The partnership between Esri and Autodesk, announced for the first time at 2017, has been a great step to bring together a multidisciplinary team to address some of the BIM-GIS integration issues.

Myth: BIM automatically provides GIS features

One of the most difficult concepts to convey to a non-specialist BIM-GIS user is that, although the BIM model looks exactly like a bridge or building, it does not necessarily have the characteristics that make up the definition of a building or bridge for cartographic purposes or of geospatial analysis.
At Esri, we are working on new experiences for in-building navigation and resource management, such as ArcGIS Indoors. Many users have expected that with our work with Autodesk Revit data, we could automatically extract common geometries, such as rooms, spaces, floor plans, the footprint of the building and the structure of a building. Even better, we could extract the navigation mesh to see how a human would go through the structure.

All these geometries would be very useful for GIS applications and for asset management workflows. Still, none of these geometries is necessary to build the building and, in general, it does not exist in a Revit model.
We are examining technologies to calculate these geometries, but some offer complex research challenges and workflows that have perplexed the industry for years. What is waterproof? What is the shrink wrap of a building? Does the foundation include? How about balconies? What is the footprint of a building? Does it include cantilevers? Or is it just the intersection of the structure with the ground?

To ensure that BIM models contain the necessary functions for GIS workflows, owner operators must define the specifications of that information before design and construction begin. Like classic CAD-GIS conversion workflows, in which CAD data is validated before becoming a GIS, the BIM process and the data that is obtained must specify and include characteristics that would be used during the management of the life cycle of a structure, if that is an objective to create the BIM data.

There are organizations around the world, typically governments and operators of controlled campuses or asset systems, that have begun to require life cycle characteristics and attributes to be included in BIM content. In the USA UU., The Government Services Administration is promoting new constructions through the BIM requirements and agencies such as the Veterans Administration have made great efforts to detail the BIM elements, such as rooms and spaces, which will be useful in the administration of the facilities. after the building is built. We have discovered that airports, such as Denver, Houston and Nashville, have strict control of their BIM data and often have highly consistent data. I have seen some great talks by SNCF AREP that built a complete BIM program for railway stations, based on the concept that BIM data would be used in asset management and operations workflows. I hope to see more of this in the future.

The data shared with us from the George HW Bush Houston International Airport (shown here in Web AppBuilder) demonstrates that, if the BIM data is standardized, usually through drawing validation tools, then it can be systematically incorporated into the GIS. . Normally, we see construction information in BIM models before viewing information related to FM

Myth: there is a file format that can provide BIM-GIS integration

In classic business integration workflows, a table or format could be assigned to another table or format, to reliably allow the transmission of information between different technologies. For several reasons, this pattern is increasingly inadequate to handle the needs of the tInformation flows of the 21 century:

  • The information stored in files is difficult to transmit
  • The allocation of data through complex domains has losses
  • Data allocation implies incomplete duplication of content in the systems
  • Data mapping is often unidirectional
  • Technology, data collection and user workflows are changing so rapidly that it is guaranteed that today's interfaces will be less than what tomorrow will require

In order to achieve true digitalization, the digital representation of an asset must be quickly accessible in a distributed environment, which can be modernized and updated to adapt to more complex queries, analyzes and inspections over time and throughout the process. useful life of the asset.

A data model can not cover everything that could be integrated into BIM and GIS through highly diverse industries and the needs of customers, so there is no single format that can capture the entire process in a way that will can access quickly and be bidirectional. I hope that integration technologies will continue to mature over time, as BIM becomes richer in content and there is a need to use BIM data in the context of GIS for asset management of the life cycle, it will become more critical for sustainable habitation of humans.

The goal of BIM-GIS integration is to enable workflows to create assets and manage them. There are no discrete, well-defined transfers between these two workflows.

Myth: You can not directly use BIM content in GIS

Conversely to the discussion of how to find GIS features in BIM data, we often hear that it is not reasonable or possible to directly use BIM content in GIS for reasons ranging from semantic complexity, asset density, to scale of assets. The discussion about the integration of BIM-GIS is generally oriented towards file formats and workflows Extract, Transform and Load (ETL).

In fact, we are already using BIM content directly in GIS. Last summer, we presented the ability to directly read a Revit file in ArcGIS Pro. At that time, the model could interact with ArcGIS Pro as if it were composed of GIS features and then transform to other standard GIS formats by manual effort, if is desired With ArcGIS Pro 2.3, we are releasing the ability to publish a new layer type, a layer of construction scene , which allows a user to encapsulate the semantics, geometry and attribute detail of a Revit model in a highly scalable format created for GIS experiences. The building's scene layer, which will be described in the open I3S specification, feels like a Revit model for the user and allows interaction using standard GIS tools and practices.

I was fascinated to discover that due to the availability of more bandwidth, cheaper storage and cheaper processing, we are moving from 'ETL' to 'ELT' or workflows. In this model, the data is loaded essentially into any system that needs it in its native form and then it can be accessed for translation in a remote system or data store where the analysis will be performed. This reduces the dependency on processing at the source, and preserves the original content for a better or deeper transformation when the technology improves. We are working on ELT in Esri and it seems that we have come across the central value of this change when I referred to 'eliminating ETL and T' in a conference last year. ELT makes the conversation radically change the scenario in which the user must always be linked outside the GIS experience to search or consult the model in its entirety. By directly loading the data into the ELT pattern,

Myth: GIS is the perfect repository for BIM information

I have two words: "Legal registration." The BIM documentation is often the legal record of business decisions and compliance information, which is recorded for the analysis of construction defects and judgments, taxes and code evaluation, and as a proof of delivery. In many cases, architects and engineers must seal or certify that their work is valid and complies with the requirements of their specialty and applicable laws or codes.

At some point, it is conceivable that GIS could be a registration system for BIM models, but at this point, I think this is years or decades away, anchored by legal systems that are still computerized versions of paper processes. We are looking for workflows, to link assets in GIS to assets in BIM repositories, so that clients can take advantage of version control and the necessary documentation in the BIM world along with the capacity of a map, to place asset information in a rich geospatial context for analysis and understanding and communication.

Similar to the discussion part of "GIS features", the integration of information through the BIM and GIS repositories will be greatly assisted by the standardized information models in GIS and BIM, which allow applications to link information reliably between the two domains. That does not mean that there will be a single information model, to capture both GIS and BIM information. There are too many differences in how the data should be used. But we need to be sure that we build technology and flexible standards that can be adapted to the use of information on both platforms with high fidelity and preservation of the content of the information.

The University of Kentucky was one of the first customers to give us access to its Revit content. UKy uses rigorous drawing validation to ensure that the correct data is in the BIM data to support the operation and maintenance of the entire life cycle.

Your Order

Changes in hardware and software capacity, and the move to a data-driven digital society, are creating opportunities to integrate diverse technologies and domains that never existed before. The integration of data and workflows through GIS and BIM, allows us to achieve greater efficiency, sustainability and habitability of the cities, campuses and workplaces that surround us.

To capitalize on technological advances, we need to create integrated teams and partnerships, to propose solutions to complex problems that affect entire systems, not discrete and static workflows. We must also fundamentally change towards new patterns of technology, which can address the problems of integration with more solidity and flexibility. The integration patterns of GIS and BIM, which we adopt today, must be "future proof" so that we can work together towards a more sustainable future.

One Reply to "5 Myths and 5 Realities of BIM Integration - GIS"

  1. Hello, good morning from Spain.
    Interesting reflection.
    If something is clear to me, it is that an exciting future awaits us, a path full of challenges and opportunities, within Geomatics, in which it will have a future that knows how to move within innovation, quality and collaboration.

Leave an answer

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.